Backtype, a company that lets users aggregate and search comments across most blogging platforms and social sites, is rolling out a new feature today called Backtype Connect. Now, instead of searching for comments by keyword, users can enter the URL of a particular blog post or article to view comments written in response across the web. This includes tweets referring to the URL (even if it has been abbreviated). The Toronto, Canada-based company also brought in $300,000 in seed funding to continue development.
In addition to delivering neatly organized search results for keywords and particular pages, Backtype also provides a statistical summary categorized according to the sites the comments appeared on — Twitter, Digg, FriendFeed, Reddit, Mashable, etc. The company has focused a lot on Twitter, of late. Another feature being launched today is BackTweets, a web site dedicated to tracking conversations on the micro-blogging site, searchable by keyword or URL. Backtype also keeps track of the most-tweeted links, giving users a handle on the hottest discussion topics on the site in real-time.
These tools aren’t just handy for casual browsers. They could prove extremely useful for companies wanting to gauge how people feel about their products and services. Instead of hopping around from site to site searching for relevant comments (not to mention sifting through the hordes of unhelpful fluff and diatribes people post), they can view them and their sites of origin in one centralized location. This makes it much easier to coordinate a blanket response.
Backtype also lets users subscribe to search query results through RSS feeds or email updates. That way, whenever additional comments relevant to a user’s search are posted, they are alerted. UberVU — with its pretty interface and URL-enabled search — and more rudimentary Artiklz are the obvious rivals in the space. But, as TechCrunch also notes, BackType appears to aggregate stronger search results. It has yet to develop a way to monetize its service, offering basic functionality for free.
The company may use some of the recent seed funds, led by True Ventures, to finance a move from Toronto to Silicon Valley in the not too distant future. “There’s no comparison,” says founder Christopher Golda. “Way more opportunities to meet people, do biz dev, get funding, everything.” This is of particular interest, considering the 9.4 percent unemployment rate in the Valley. Times may be tough, but there’s no shortage of talent for hire.
Backtype is an alum of the Y Combinator summer program, which kicked in the initial $15,000 it needed to launch last August. Showing early signs of success, it was nominated in the best bootstrapped startup category at this year’s Crunchies.